“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Harry Potter’s “One Great Flaw”

We have seen how when Voldemort took Harry’s blood, he unknowingly “tethered him to life.” Voldemort’s other fatal mistake is his decision to exploit Harry’s love for his friends. His description of this “weakness” is worth noting again: “I know his weakness, you see, his one great flaw. He will hate watching the others struck down around him, knowing that it is for him that it happens. He will want to stop it at any cost. He will come” (DH ch. 32). Voldemort thought he was taking advantage of Harry’s weakness when in fact he was allowing Harry to exercise his greatest strength. We have already seen how, when Voldemort killed Lily, he first commanded her to “stand aside,” thus making it possible for Lily to sacrifice herself for Harry, which strengthened in Harry the great “weapon” of love and gave him a powerful, lasting protection. Here, at the very end, he makes the same mistake, announcing that unless Harry gives himself up he will “punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me” (DH ch. 33), and thus effectively holding Harry’s friends for ransom (cf. Mark 10:45). When Harry sacrifices himself for his friends, they are shielded from harm by his sacrifice – his blood becomes their refuge just as Lily’s blood became Harry’s “refuge.”* Paradoxically, exploiting Harry’s “one great flaw” of love is Voldemort’s great error. Harry’s love was more beautiful and more powerful because of Voldemort. This is, in my view, the purpose of evil – to be exposed for the foolishness that it is and, more importantly, to make it possible for all that is good to shine even brighter (before being ultimately defeated, of course). For more, see “The Victory of God.”

*See “The Protective Power of Sacrificial Love in Harry Potter”: “I’ve done what my mother did, and that’s what did it. They’re protected from you. Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can’t torture them. You can’t touch them. You don’t learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you?” (DH 591).

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